A beautifully photographed book focusing on the signature rock keyboard sounds of the 1950s to the early 1980s. The electric pianos, organs and early synthesizers that changed the musical world and created an enduring catalog of hits.

More than fifty keyboards featured including:

Hammond B-3

Rhodes Stage

Farfisa Compact

Vox Continental

Wurlitzer 200A


RMI Electra-piano

Hohner Pianet N

Hohner Clavinet

Mellotron M400

Gibson G-101

Yamaha CP-70B

“The story of keyboard development, the people who built them, and the part they played in our musical history has never been fully told up until now. This book is a must for all who love keyboards and their history and indeed, music in general.
It should be on every music lover’s bookshelf.”

Rick Wakeman

Keyboard player for Yes, solo artist and session player

“Classic Keys tells you everything you always wanted to know about vintage keyboards.
It’s not for squares.”

Donald Fagen

Keyboard player, singer and co-founder of Steely Dan

“A ‘dream book’ for us keyboard players. Beautiful depictions of classic instruments, both in pictures and text. Accurate and well-written histories of these vintage pieces that we
all love and respect. I’m still drooling over each page!”

Chuck Leavell

Keyboard player for The Allman Brothers Band and musical director of The Rolling Stones

“A true gem. It contains information that even an avid fan with deep knowledge of the subject will find rewarding… I am stunned by the depth and detail in this wonderful tome, and the wealth of photographs. Everything is chronicled with care and love.”

Steve Nieve

Keyboard player for Elvis Costello and the Attractions, session player and composer

“An extremely thorough and informative book that reveals the evolution and inner workings of keyboard instruments that changed contemporary music for the good, forever. As an educator, I feel that this book should be required reading for every contemporary keyboardist.”

Dave Limina

Piano department chair, Berklee College of Music, and author of Hammond Organ Complete

“Needed, brilliant and timeless. Thank you!”

John Novello

Hammond B-3 player for the jazz fusion trio Niacin

Latest review:

“For anyone with more than a cursory interest in the classic keyboard instruments, the outstanding quality and breadth of content in this magnificent hardback book easily justifies its price and I really can’t recommend it highly enough. It should be required reading for anyone considering a career in the audio industry, whether as a performer or an engineer/producer!”
SOS January 2020

Read the full review here.

Available from these sellers:

Published by:

University of North Texas Press

Request a review copy

Exam copy availability

Distributed by:

The Texas Book Consortium

Electronic Music Education
and Preservation Project

The publication of this book was made possible in part by a grant from the Electronic Music Education and Preservation Project, a Philadelphia-based organization devoted to archiving and sharing the history, artists and tools of electronic music, and keeping it alive and relevant for the future.

For more information, go to EMEAPP.org.